Another part of our (hopefully) year-long video project, A Year of Beer. looking at the idea of beer and seasonality - how different styles of beer are more appropriate to different seasons, weathers, festivals and so on. There will also be a bit of beer and food matching thrown in because, hell, we love to eat as much as we love to drink.
This week: Port Brewing Hop 15
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Port Brewing Hop 15
Damn, I love American craft beer. I love anything taken to its illogical conclusion, and the sort of strong, hoppy IPAs that are now commonly known as "double" or "imperial" IPAs are a living liquid embodiment of someone, somewhere who doesn't know when to say stop.
Not only are there three breweries in one here (Port Brewing, Pizza Port and Lost Abbey), but their approach to brewing appears to be to turn it all up to eleven and get on with it. Actually, that's unfair on two counts. I've only tried a few Port Brewing beers, and they've all been very good. The IPAs that I've tried (this one and the high Tide Wet Hop IPA) are great, although the 10.5%abv to the Hop 15 is a real treat, although I couldn't drink a whole one. Actually, scratch that; I shouldn't drink a whole one, but I did. Really, it's so packed chock full of hoppy goodness, I couldn't help myself.
Double or imperial IPAs (I don't really endorse these terms) are de facto over the top. Since attending the brewing of a strong IPA at a local Yorkshire brewery (I'd be glamorising my involvement if I tried to imply that I helped brew it), I've been thinking about how could make an intense, full-bodied IPA at about 4%abv. You could do something funky to make it full-bodied, but low abv, like using lactose to fill out the body, and counteract the sweetness with more hops, or play about with the saccharification rest when you mash the grain (sorry, I've been reading Randy Mosher's "Radical Brewing" and it's given me ideas above my station). Actually, perhaps that what BrewDog are trying to do with their new "imperial mild", "How to Disappear Completely". I'll find out soon - I've just ordered some.
Anyway, although I don't really approve of the high abv coupled to ruinous drinkability, or the terminology attached to this style of beer, I have to say that I can't help but like Port Brewing Hop 15, despite myself. And I think you will too.